New unemployment claims filings drop again, nationally and in Washington; state will require a job-search requirement.

In another indication of a recovering economy, the state Employment Security Department and the U.S. Department of Labor both report another drop in weekly initial unemployment insurance claims. 

ESD reports

During the week of May 30 – June 5, there were 8,868 initial regular unemployment claims (down 12.1 percent from the prior week) and 386,317 total claims for all unemployment benefit categories (up 1.2 percent from the prior week) filed by Washingtonians, according to the Employment Security Department (ESD).  

  • Initial regular claims applications are now 70 percent below weekly new claims applications during the same period last year during the pandemic.
  • The 4-week moving average for initial claims remain elevated at 12,560 (as compared to the 4-week moving average of initial claims pre-pandemic of 6,071 initial claims) and remains at similar levels of initial claims filed during the Great Recession.
  • Initial claims applications for regular benefits, Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) all decreased over the week.
  • Continued/ongoing claims for Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) and Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) increased slightly over the week.
  • Decreases in layoffs in Retail trade, Accommodation and Food Services and Construction contributed to the decrease in regular initial claims last week.

From the U.S. DoL,

In the week ending June 5, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 376,000, a decrease of 9,000 from the previous week’s unrevised level of 385,000. This is the lowest level for initial claims since March 14, 2020 when it was 256,000. The 4-week moving average was 402,500, a decrease of 25,500 from the previous week’s unrevised average of 428,000. This is the lowest level for this average since March 14, 2020 when it was 225,500.

The advance seasonally adjusted insured unemployment rate was 2.5 percent for the week ending May 29, a decrease of 0.2 percentage point from the previous week’s unrevised rate.

The Associated Press has more on the national jobs situation here.

As we’ve written, employers here and across the country are challenged to fill job openings. Employers may anticipate that the state’s July 4 reinstatement of the job requirement will provide some relief. Paul Roberts writes in The Seattle Times,

And in another sign of change in the job market, state officials announced that Washingtonians collecting unemployment benefits will again be required to actively search for work to keep those benefits, starting July 4.

Gov. Jay Inslee suspended the job-search requirement last spring. 

“With the economy recovering, the job search requirement is going back into effect,” the Employment Security Department noted on its unemployment website. “This means you will be required to look for work and document at least three approved job search activities each week in order to remain eligible for unemployment benefits.”

The Association of Washington Business last week called for the state to reinstate the job-search requirement.